Friday, 7 December 2012

"Flat-Earth" Friday

I posted some high definition footage of shod horses a couple of days ago and as if to echo this there was an article posted from The Horse magazine entitled: "Human Barefoot Trends - what can they tell us about horses?".

Since the research into barefoot in humans is overwhelmingly in favour, as it improves biomechanics and reduces injury, you would have thought that the article would reach a foregone conclusion - but no, it was still quoting not research but the opinion of vets and farriers that - guess what - horses need shoes - once again for that all-important, mythical "support"!

Following the article there was a brilliant comment from Nikki on Facebook:

"I still can't believe how often I hear the word 'support' in relation to the use of shoes on horses. 

What exactly are they supporting? The total acceptance that shoeing is universally the way to go for any ill is absolutely nuts... 

I can certainly understand the problems presented when it was discovered that the world wasn't flat, I just wish our so called enlightened society would be a little more open minded instead of being so determined not to be duped that intelligent people just don't want to hear logic any more! "

She is absolutely right, of course but (though I used to find it frustrating) nowadays when I hear the "shoes provide support" statement, I try to  keep it in perspective.
After all, Nicolas Copernicus' and Galileo's ground-breaking proposition - that the earth orbited the sun, rather than vice versa - was initially preposterous to the scientists and society of their times.

Most people firmly believed that the earth couldn't possibly be spinning around the sun. This belief (like the shoes=support belief) wasn't based on scientific evidence: people believed it because they'd always been told that the earth was in the centre of their universe and it never occurred to anyone (apart from Copernicus and Galileo!) to question this assumption or subject it to scientific testing and scrutiny - sound familiar?

Fabulously, Wikipedia quotes lots of recent surveys across various countries where significant percentages of the populations still believe that the sun revolves round the earth! Since posting this, I've even found a "Fat Earth Society" whose website - apparently seriously - states the earth really is flat and photos of it looking round from space are part of an elaborate conspiracy theory :-) So its not just in equine hoofcare where human beliefs aren't governed by logic and where beliefs run contrary to scientific fact :-)

As my own contribution to the debate, here is the comparative footage of Rolie, who went home last weekend. On arrival he had his "supportive" remedial shoes on; compare how he was landing without that "support" a few weeks later...


cptrayes said...

I suppose we should feel lucky? Galileo got put to death for his belief that the earth revolved around the sun. At least all we get is abuse on internet forums!


Nic Barker said...

Definitely, C - there's been a lot of progress :-) Since the blog post though I have found the most hilarious thing - there actually IS a Flat Earth Society - with website - which passionately believes that NASA is in a conspiracy to stop us finding out that the earth really is flat - its hysterical - more fun even than Giles' forum ;-)

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

I've got news for you - we didn't walk on the moon either. (and forget about climate change...) ;D